money owed on promised raise?

Am owed money for the months I waited for a raise granted in nov. 2000 but not received until may 2001? I was promised I would get my raise and the retro after the "new system" was in place...I received my raise but no retro pay. can you tell me what i can do?

1 answer  |  asked May 26, 2001 9:09 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Richard Renner
breach of promise on retroactive pay increase

You can:
1. Organize a union among your coworkers. Once the union bargains for a contract, the written contract will spell out exactly what your wages will be, and when you will get what raises.

2. Sue for breach of promise. This claim will be problematic based on the information you gave. Was the promise ever put in writing? What are the odds that the managers who made the promise will admit making them? Were the promises sufficiently specific to allow the court to compute the amount of the judgment you are entitled to? Even if you win, you will not be entitled to attorney fees. My guess is that if you hire an attorney, the attorney fees will be more than the amount you recover.

3. You can sue in small claims court, without an attorney. You won't have the worry about attorney fees, but you will have all the same worries about proof and outcome. The filing fee will be about $30. How will the boss react to being sued?

4. You can quit. You can look for another job. You could apply for unemployment benefits, but most claims like this fail. For the state department, Review Commission, or court to find good cause to quit based on unpaid wages, you have to show that you were entitled to the wages, and the employer refused to pay what you had already earned. These findings, of course, depend on the evidence presented at the hearing before the Review Commission.
I imagine the fact that you continued working, week after week, without the promised raise, will feature prominently in a decision against you on the claim for unemployment benefits.

5. You can ask your legislator to propose a law that gives workers the same right to sue bosses that consumers have against car dealers. Why should bosses be able to trick workers with false or deceptive acts and practices? What are the odds that our present legisture would open the court house doors to claims of employer deception that fall short of breach of contract or fraud?

I like option 1 best for you. You may want to check with an attorney first to make sure you are covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), or the Ohio Collective Bargaining Law (for public employees). If the company can point to an exception to one of these laws, then you could not win a claim of retaliation on account of your union organizing.

Richard Renner
rrenner@igc.org

posted by Richard Renner  |  May 29, 2001 08:05 AM [EST]

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